A Year of Blogging part 2 – Reflecting

June has been a special month at the Jack Narrator household. For one thing, it’s the first June we’ve spent together at this house as a family. We bought our house in 2017. In June of that year, we were out of our old house and in the basement at Carol’s parents’ home as we waited for our new house to be ready for us. When we moved in, it was already July. In 2018, it was just the kids and I living there. Though I often did not protest Carol being in the house, the one hard rule was she had to leave at night as she was not welcome to sleep at home.

This year, we were finally all together in this house in the month of June. We spent a lot of time in the backyard relaxing, drinking, gardening, barbecuing, playing catch, cleaning. It’s a good time of year to be out. It’s hot but not too humid yet. It reminds me a lot of the weather on our vacation: hot and sunny with a cool breeze. Perfect.

One day, as we sat listening to music on the back porch, after partaking in nearly all the activities listed above, I turned to Carol and said, “This is my favourite day, ever.” After the words left my mouth, I noticed that for once it didn’t feel like a lie. Was I actually happy? Yes, I think I had a few moments of genuine happiness in there, as opposed to the ghost of a feeling I generally have that I can interpret as, ‘would’ve been happiness if I could feel fully’. Nope, this June I had a few moments where I actually felt happy. It was nice to feel joy in my body.

I started this blog at around this time last year. In fact, it was on this day, the 28th, that I made my first post, I am Jack. It had been probably at least a week since I created the blog when I finally composed my first entry, and I was really just dipping my feet in the water. It wasn’t until two weeks later that I made my second post, 1.5 Months Later…. I was so confused that things were taking a turn towards reconciliation when I was so certain that it was the end of my marriage just a few weeks prior.

I really badly needed to share the details of The Incident but I had to work my way up to it. I had shared it in person but I needed to write it down to really get it out of my system, but writing it seemed it would give it more weight, like a written account would solidify it in history and make it more real than my witnessing of it. I finally wrote it because I felt obligated to after sharing five posts worth of my story.

I reread my entire blog earlier this month with the exception of The Incident and The Reaction. I have reread those posts enough already. I went through the whole year’s worth of posts over the course of at least several days. I took a few of my entries offline to rework them, cutting out unnecessary parts and removing details that made me uncomfortable to write in the first place.

A lot of sexual content was cut down or removed altogether. While it was important for me to hang onto every sexual detail early in our reconciliation, especially since I had been so deprived of it for years, I never felt comfortable sharing those details in the first place. Well, I should say I felt even less comfortable sharing those details as I’m actually quite uncomfortable with sharing anything on this blog.

How insightful it is to reflect on a year of my life with the aid of all these blog entries? I don’t think I’d notice much of my progress if it wasn’t documented like this. I can hardly believe just how sexually frustrated I was. It peaked in August, then I found myself desperately clinging onto any new sexual experience. I can see the graph in my mind, the peak of August and the slow drop off after that, until early this year when I finally felt that this issue was resolved. I look back and wonder how I could’ve been living in a marriage where sex was such a major problem. Now, it’s something I expect as a regular part of a healthy marriage, and anything less is unacceptable.

Another interesting insight I gained from reading a year of entries was that, I wasn’t incredibly angry in the beginning of our reconciliation. Of course I yelled at Carol a lot and had plenty of nasty ideas for revenge in my head before reconciliation, but when we decided to try it again, I was very numb and just going with the flow in a lot of ways. Over time, it seemed the first emotion to actually ‘wake up’ out of the numbness was anger and it grew until it was an intense rage that was nearly incapacitating.

The anger really only started to break in the last month and with that, new feelings began to emerge such as the desire to pursue my interests again and an occasional less muted feeling of happiness. I like that these feelings are here again but I don’t really want it to go much further. Part of being numb and not caring so much, means not worrying or fearing so much, which means not hanging on to what I have so tightly and not hurting so badly at the thought, or process, of losing it. I like that a lot of the old feelings are not there and I hope they continue to stay away.

I’m not supposed to say this but I think it would be just fine if I never feel genuine caring towards another person ever again. However, I’m smart enough to know that I’m not always going to feel this way. The feelings will continue to come back and I’ll have to learn to manage them while retaining my newfound strength and confidence. Considering how it’s all coming back so slowly, I’m getting plenty of time to adjust to each new feeling.

Yes, it’s been a year of rebuilding myself. Maybe I get to choose what I bring back into myself this time around. I’m going to keep at this and see what insights another year of blogging will bring.

This weekend, I will make my triumphant return to family camping week, which I have not been involved in since I was diagnosed many years ago. My daughter has never in her life enjoyed camping with me. I very much look forward to going again.

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